Reliance Jio Platforms has been rumored to be in ‘advanced talks’ with the renowned search giant, Google, for fresh investment. At its virtual 43rd Annual General Meeting today, RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani has confirmed that Google has invested Rs. 33,737 crores (around $4.5 billion) in exchange for a 7.7% stake in Jio Platforms.
Google is the latest high-profile investor to join Jio Platform’s investor lineup, which already includes the likes of Facebook, Qualcomm, and Intel Ventures. The Mountain View-based giant is the second-biggest investor in India’s telecom giant, right behind Facebook who has picked up a 9.99% stake for $5.7 billion.
This investment, as per the official press release, comes at an equity value of Rs. 4.36 lakh crores (around $59 billion). This partnership will see the two technology giants collaborate on the development of an affordable Android phone. Mukesh Ambani is looking forward to launching a JioPhone 2 successor but it will be a smartphone with 4G/ 5G capability. Not a feature phone.
In an official statement, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said, “I am excited that our joint collaboration will focus on increasing access for hundreds of millions of Indians who don’t currently own a smartphone while improving the mobile experience for all.”
While Google’s investment is still subject to regulatory approvals, Jio Platforms has raised a total of over $20.5 billion from 13 investors over the past four-odd months. The company has now sold over 33% stake but it has been a massive help in making Reliance net-debt free.
It’s certainly amazing how the company achieved its net-debt free milestone during India’s COVID-19 lockdown. Jio is the largest telecom operator in India with more than 400 million subscribers. The company is pushing beyond its telecom roots and has unveiled Jio Glass, Jio TV+, and other technology-enabled services at today’s virtual event. Stay tuned for more information from Reliance’s 43rd AGM.